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Page Updated: August 29, 2001

August 29, 2001

US government sources have confirmed that Dolphins Plus in Key Largo, Florida has submitted its paperwork to export/transfer four to six of its bottlenose dolphins to the "swim-with" facility in Tortola at Prospect Reef. Tortolan newspapers have also reported today that the dolphins are scheduled to arrive from Florida on September 8. Of the four dolphins slated for Prospect Reed, sources indicate that two of these dolphins were captured off the coast of Florida, and two were born in captivity.

Dolphins Plus attempted to provide dolphins to a facility in Dominica in the past, and was thwarted when US researchers in Dominica publicized the horrible track record of Dolphins Plus, and provided the facility and the government with documentation of Animal Welfare Act violations, injury reports and other negative information evidencing Dolphin Plus' history. Although there is a very short timeframe before a letter of comity must be received (by NMFS) from theTortolan facility verifying that it meets standards comparable to the public display requirements of the MMPA and care and maintenance standards established by APHIS, we might be able to make enough noise to stop this shipment.

In addition, government sources have stated that some captive facilities are indicating that they are "having trouble" obtaining bottlenose dolphins for their programs, a sign that substandard and even well-established facilities may be shopping for dolphins worldwide. We must do everything possible to end the demand for dolphins for these swim-with programs. The connection of a supply to drive fisheries may be confirmed more definitely as we continue our efforts through Hardy in Japan in tracking the captive dolphins obtained through the most recent drives. Mark has indicated that perhaps up to seven dolphins from the drive fishery have arrived at Palau's swim program.

Furthermore, a dangerous trend will be reinforced if these dolphins are sent to Tortola. Fledgling and substandard swim-with programs across the globe will continue to seek the US as a supplier of dolphins. This is a perfect and timely example of how the current US regulations governing the special exception permits for the take of dolphins for public display is failing [these regulations, governed by NMFS, are currently up for review-the public comment period closes November 2. See\prot_res\overview\permits.html]. With a mere statement of comity, and without public outcry, these dolphins will supply an ever-growing demand and business in international waters. La Paz, Manati Park, is clear that dolphins are finding their way to substandard facilities without public input.

Please help us prevent these dolphins from fueling another swim-with program in Tortola. The dolphins are on their way unless we can stop them. If you have any specific information related to the activities of Dolphins Plus, please provide it along with your letter of concern to:

The Tortolan Government
Honorable Ralph T. O'Neal
Chief Minister's Office
Central Administration Complex
Road Town, Tortola
British virgin Islands
fax; 284 4946413

His Excellency the Governor
Mr. Francis J. Savage CMG, LVO, OBE
POB 702
Road Town, Tortola
British Virgin Islands
Fax: 284 4945582

Prospect Reef
Prospect Reef Resort
Managing Director Andre Niederhauser
POB 104
Road Town, Tortola
British Virgin Islands
Fax: 284 4945595

Tortolan Tourist Boards
Honorable Ralph T. O'Neal
Chief Minister's Office
Central Administration Complex
Road Town, Tortola
British Virgin Islands
Fax: + 1 284 494 6413

BVI Chamber of Commerce & Hotel Association
Box 376
Road Town, Tortola
Phone: 2l84-494-3514

BVI Tourist Board
370 Lexington Avenue, suite 1605
NY NY 10017
Phone: 212-696-0400
Fax: 212-949-8254

BVI Tourism
3450 Wilshire Blvd - Suite 1202
Los Angeles CA 90010
Phone: 213-384-6100
Fax: 213-384-9033

BVI Tourist Board
3390 Peachtree Road NE Suite 1000
Lenox Towers
Atlanta, GA 30326
Phone 404-240-8018
Fax: 404-233-2318

BVI Tourist Board
Banks Hoggins O'Shea FCB
54 Baker Street
London WIM 1D1
Phone: 44-171-240-4259
Fax: 44-171-240-4270


- MARCH 29, 2001

The island of Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands, is dredging a lagoon in order to bring in dolphins for a dolphin swim program at Prospect Reef Hotel which is owned by former Chief Minister Mr. Cyril Romney.

Resort Managing Director of Prospect Reef Hotel, Mr. Andre Niederhauser said that Prospect Reef Hotel is starting with two dolphins, but plans to eventually have between six and eight animals.

The first two dolphins Prospect Reef Hotel will be acquiring have been bought from Mr. Graham Simpson of Anguilla. Mr. Simpson, as you many recall, bought 6 dolphins from Cuba in January of this year and now appears to be selling some of these dolphins to other Caribbean islands.

Please send letters to the Governor, Chief Minister and Prospect Reef Director and ask them to reconsider their plans to go ahead with this facility.


  • Governor Frank Savage
    FAX: (284) 494-5790

  • Chief Minister Ralph O'Neal
    FAX: (284) 494-6413

  • Prospect Reef Director
    Mr. Andre Niederhauser
    FAX: (284) 494-3311

    You are welcome to cc: me any copies of your email or fax me copies of your letter.

    Gwen McKenna
    FAX: (905) 778-9612